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The Daily TIP: Israeli Olympic Skater: “It’s Very Special to Literally Have My Country’s Name on My Back”

Posted by Tip Staff - February 09, 2018

Israeli Olympic Skater: “It’s Very Special to Literally Have My Country’s Name on My Back”
More than 200 Reported Killed as Iran-Backed Syrian Regime Bombs Civilian Neighborhoods
According to Foreign Minister Zarif, Iran is Violating the Nuclear Deal
Israeli Use of Barn Owls Instead of Chemicals to Fight Pests Gains Traction Across Mideast


Israeli Olympic Skater: “It’s Very Special to Literally Have My Country’s Name on My Back”

Olympic figure skater Aimee Buchanan said that it's "very special" to have her country's name on her back, in an interview with Jewish Telegraphic Agency, published Wednesday.

Buchanan who began figure skating in Boston in 1998, said she never thought she would fulfill her Olympic dream as a part of Team Israel, but is now part of Israel's largest-ever delegation to the Winter Olympics, held this year in Pyeongchang, South Korea.In an interview with NBC 5, Buchanan recalled, “When I was four years old and I first started to skate I was like, ‘I want to go to the Olympics!’ My mom’s just like… sure every little kid’s going to say that.” As she progressed in the sport, it became clear that she was ready for the international stage. She realized that Israel was the ideal place to enhance her international status.

When she formally made Aliyah in 2014, she had never visited Israel. Within six weeks of her arrival, at age 20, she became an Israeli citizen and, later, Israel’s 2016 Ladies National Champion.

In 2017, Buchanan moved to Dallas, Texas to train for the Olympics. Although she trains in the United States, Israel is never far from her mind.

“It’s very special to literally have my country’s name on my back,” she said. “I think it just shows that it doesn’t really matter where you’re originally from or what your heritage is. You can be who you are and do what you want all over the world.”



More than 200 Reported Killed as Iran-Backed Syrian Regime Bombs Civilian Neighborhoods

More than 200 civilians have been killed since Monday in Syrian regime airstrikes on parts of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, The Guardian reported.The neighborhood has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years, with the siege intensifying in May when regime troops, backed by Iran and Russia, conducted a large-scale offensive.

“Ghouta is drowning in blood,” said a doctor in Arbeen, one of the towns in the region. “There is no safe place in Ghouta,” added Raed Srewel, a journalist based in Douma, another town in the area. “You can describe it with this saying we have: “On top of death, the graves are too small.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group, 59 civilians, including 15 children, have been killed on Thursday alone in eastern Ghouta.

The neighborhood was one of several so-called de-escalation zones agreed last year by Russia, Turkey and Iran. However, airstrikes escalated in recent days after a Russian warplane was grounded over the weekend in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.

With the backing of Iran and Russia, the Syrian regime has been able to regain control across the majority of Syria. An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2011, according to the UN. More than 13.1 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid, including 6.1 million who have been displaced.



According to Foreign Minister Zarif, Iran is Violating the Nuclear Deal

In March 2015, Sen. Tom Cotton (R - Ark.) posted a letter on his website, signed by 46 other Republican senators, arguing that any deal with Iran that was not approved by the United States Senate would just be an executive agreement that would not necessarily have force in American law after President Barack Obama's term in office ended.

While Cotton called it a letter to Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the intent of the letter was to get the administration to acknowledge that the nuclear deal it was negotiating would be an executive agreement and not a treaty. Confirmation came from then-Secretary of State John Kerry who acknowledged that the deal would be an executive agreement.

A more interesting response to the Senate letter came from Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif. Posting on Iran's foreign ministry website, Zarif wrote that the deal "will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution."

He added that he hoped this his comments "may enrich the knowledge of the authors to recognize that according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement at any time as they claim, and if Congress adopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of US obligations."

To read the complete essay please click here.



Israeli Use of Barn Owls Instead of Chemicals to Fight Pests Gains Traction Across Mideast

The path to peace in the Middle East might be navigated not via a dove carrying an olive branch but by a lowly barn owl.

Barn owls have been used in Israel since 1982 as an alternative to toxic chemicals for killing voles, which at the time plagued Israeli agricultural fields.

Ornithologist Yossi Leshem thought that owls might be able to control the rodents more naturally.

Leshem set up an experiment at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in 1983. Three decades later, the barn owl approach has spread throughout the Palestinian territories and into Jordan as well.

That’s in part how 22 participants from 10 governments (including Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Cyprus, Greece, France and Switzerland in addition to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan) came together in January to share research from their barn owl vs. rodent experiences.

The group met at the Crowne Plaza resort hotel on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea where they discussed scientific findings and hatch plans. Field trips were organized to visit barn owl nesting boxes in the Jordan Valley, as well as to Amman and Petra. A follow-up in March will see some of the Middle Eastern researchers visit California State University in Sacramento.

While the topic was formally owls, regional peace was never far from discussion.

“Scientists should continue their cooperation for the benefit and peace of people in the area,” emphasized Mansour Abu Rashid, who works with Leshem and directs the Amman Center for Peace and Development.

(via Israel21c)


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